The Last American Virgin, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Animal House and Porky’s – the 1980s was packed to the brim with teen sex comedies that rigidly follow the same formula. To that end, one could legitimately rinse and repeat the previous review of the last American virgin, changing only slight details and actors. While the quality varies with these films – spanning the divide between the gutter and classics – as a viewer looking back at these films it’s impossible to neglect the derivative structure and goals these films offer. Whether it’s Porky’s in the 1980s or the latest rinse and repeat effort hitting cinemas in 2014, the teen sex comedy has evolved into a state of cross-over with the gross-out. However, heading back to those halcyon days when these films exploded across the imaginations of teenagers and box-offices, the one property that ruled the roost was Bob Clark’s Porky’s.
Set during the 1950s, Porky’s sees a group of Florida high schoolers help a friend (Pee Wee, Dan Monahan) lose his virginity, leading them to the infamous titular club. After being kicked out in a humiliating fashion, Mickey (Roger Wilson) takes it upon himself to reap revenge on the sleazy nightclub owner and his redneck sheriff brother. The rest of the gang – Billy, Tommy, Tim and Meat – spend their time milling around town and campus, with many additional B-arc stories floating around that bareboned narrative.
Despite the loose narrative using revenge as it’s through line, Porky’s simply does not have a story to tell. A pseudo-ironic statement when one considers the film feels like a natural extension of a TV show, the way the world of Porky’s has been set up and the characters that occupy it. Bob Clark’s film feels like it’s coasting on the success of an earlier iteration, the script implies that we should know these characters and be used to their quirks, if the film wasn’t as broad as it is, it would be doubtful if it could get away with these scriptwriting strokes. With this the film moves from one comedic set up to the next with next to no real connective tissue. That which helps these films jump from also ran’s to cult classics is the amount of flesh on display and the quality of the comedy.
Compared to its modern equivalents the nudity on display is tame confined only to one scene in the girl’s shower. Meanwhile, the comedy may be funny in short burst but those laughs are mined to breaking point. Whether it’s the prank call, the teachers meeting or lassie, each and every time a comedic foothold is found it proceeds to trot way past the point of being funny. Do not confuse this for the ‘only extreme will do’ wiles of modern cinema comedy, instead porky’s keeps on repeating the same punch lines over and over for minutes at a time, ultimately begging the question whether the material was ever funny in the first place.
To repeat the same conclusion from Arrow’s previously released Last American Virgin, Porky’s is a film defined by nostalgia. As a modern viewer the film will fall on nonplussed eyes, but to those who first saw this film in their teenage years there is little one would want to say to sway those rose-tinted glasses. To those who experienced Porky’s in the more innocent time that was the 1980s, this will be the most important part of the review – the presentation and package.
As has come to be the rule for Arrow Video and their restorations, the HD presentation of the film sees it look its best – clean lines and bleeding edge level of clarity that find in modern productions. In regards to the extras it’s not as bounteous as the A-star Arrow production; instead a degree of that budget has been poured into a rather polished Steelbook edition. All that remains for the extras is an interview with Bob Clark and an affectionate insight by ‘Mr Skin’ into the heyday of the 80s teen sex comedy. But as is ever with titles like this, this has a ready-made audience waiting with bated breath to snap up titles like this, critical acclaim or no critical acclaim.
- Limited Edition SteelBook packaging
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the film from a digital transfer prepared by Twentieth Century Fox
- Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary by writer/director Bob Clark
- Porky’s Through the Peephole – Bob Clark looks back at his box-office sensation
- Skin Classic! – Mr Skin celebrates Porky’s and the heyday of the 80s teen sex comedy
- Porky’s trailer reel
- Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Paul Corupe, creator of the Canuxploitation website, and a previously unpublished interview with director Bob Clark conducted by Calum Waddell, illustrated with archive stills.
PORKY’S IS NOW AVAILABLE ON ARROW VIDEO BLU-RAY AND STEELBOOK FROM ALL GOOD STOCKISTS